Years ago there was a nutter on Usenet who used to keep telling us all that Boron was just the thing to enable the storage of hydrogen.
You\’d be able to fill up a car tank, just like you do with petrol.
Turns out he wasn\’t a nutter after all.
Cella Energy is hoping to start selling hydrogen fuel to mix with petrol by about 2013 and gradually expand its use.
Prof Stephen Bennington, the leading scientist on the project, said: \”In some senses hydrogen is the perfect fuel. It has three times more energy than petrol per unit of weight, and when it burns it produces nothing but water.\”
However, one of the problems with hydrogen is that it does not occur naturally. Previous hydrogen cars have generated the fuel using gas or renewable energy – leading to questions over whether it is as environmentally friendly as it seems.
Cella insists that its hydrogen, made from hydrides, does not have the same problem – since the key ingredient is abundant and easily accessible.
And what\’s the complex hydride?
Our current composite material uses ammonia borane NH3BH3 as the hydride…
OK, not the finished item but shows that not everyone on Usenet was entirely howling at the Moon then.
A method of getting hydrogen to act like petrol, to run through an ICE, would lead to an interesting little conundrum. Which would win out? The ICE, in which we\’ve got a century\’s research invested, which is really pretty efficient given the theoretical limits of the technology and which has a huge infrastructure behind it.
Or the in theory vastly more efficient fuel cell which is really only just getting out of the starting blocks?